The Washington Post

Gen. Wes Clark set to pound Romney on foreign policy

Gen. Wesley Clark a retired four-star general, has a chest full of medals and a resume crammed with military successes, but he has vocal detractors in the military. (HIDAJET DELIC)

The GOP field is set to discuss national security on Tuesday night during a debate sponsored by CNN.

At a Monday press conference, Clark will be joined by Former Navy Secretary Richard Danzig and Ret. Major General Paul Eaton at the National Press Club, and he will make a forceful case for President Obama’s approach to foreign policy.

“When President Obama took office three years ago, the United States was engaged in two wars and faced terrorist threats at home and abroad directed by Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda leaders,” Clark will say, according to prepared remarks. “In making the call to finally bring Osama bin Laden to justice, President Obama showed America’s resolve and proved once again the extraordinary capabilities of our national security forces. Now, al-Qaeda is weaker than at any point since 9/11.”

Clark, who was NATO Supreme Allied Commander Europe from 1997 to 2000 and ran for president in 2004, will single out Mitt Romney in his remarks saying that though Romney praised the killing of bin Laden, he also said “it’s not worth moving Heaven and Earth and spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”

Clark will also criticize Romney’s approach to Iraq.

“In his first major address on foreign policy, delivered one month ago at The Citadel, one candidate made a scant, passing reference to Iraq – then a couple of weeks later, he accused the president of failing to make an orderly transition in Iraq - when, in fact it hasn’t even happened yet but it has been well planned and exhaustively considered,” Clark will say.

The GOP field discussed their views on foreign policy in a CBS debate a little over a week ago, and the candidates offered differing approaches to foreign policy, with Ron Paul touting a non-interventionist approach to Iran, Rick Perry promising to roll back foreign aid, and Romney promising that Iran would not get a nuclear weapon on his watch.

Clark will say that the tough talk on Iran amounted to “rattling the sabres for a war.”

The field, particularly Herman Cain, has gotten increased scrutiny on foreign policy. In an interview last week, Cain seemed unsure about his approach to Libya, and was stumped when asked about the “wet foot, dry foot” policy in regards to Cuban immigrants.

“We are here to put their rhetoric in context, to remind you of the shifts in their rhetoric over years, weeks, and hours, and to challenge the candidates to measure up to the significant accomplishments and strong record of President Obama and his team over the past three years,” Clark will say.

“In some of the most momentous decisions in our nation’s history, American Commanders-in-Chief have had one chance to get it right. There are seldom do-overs when our nation’s security is at stake.”

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Nia-Malika Henderson is a political reporter for The Fix.


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